Sadly, identity theft happens throughout the year – but some identity thieves are particularly active during tax-filing season. How can you protect yourself?
One of the most important moves you can make is to be suspicious of requests by people or entities claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. You may receive phone calls, texts and emails, but these types of communication are often just “phishing” scams with one goal in mind: to capture your personal information. These phishers can be quite clever, sending emails that appear to contain the IRS logo or making calls that may even seem to be coming from the IRS. Don’t open any links or attachments to the emails and don’t answer the calls – and don’t be alarmed if the caller leaves a vaguely threatening voicemail, either asking for personal information, such as your Social Security number, or informing you of some debts you supposedly owe to the IRS that must be taken care of “immediately.”
In reality, the IRS will not initiate contact with you by phone, email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information, or to inquire about issues pertaining to your tax returns. Instead, the agency will first send you a letter. And if you’re unsure of the legitimacy of such a letter, contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
Of course, not all scam artists are fake IRS representatives – some will pass themselves off as tax preparers. Fortunately, most tax preparers are honest,…